The brainchild of Eastside-raised, Dartmouth- and MIT-educated trendsetter Ambika Singh, local startup Armoire was launched three years ago as a kind of virtual closet and outfit rental service for savvy professional women. Singh wanted to save women “some serious time and frustration in the dressing room,” and her company has grown quickly, with triple-digit sales growth and the addition of a brick-and-mortar headquarters in Pioneer Square this year. But Singh, who grew up swapping clothes with her cousins at family gatherings, has greater aspirations for her company: “We want to be the armor for every type of woman.”
“She was 5 feet tall and wore 4-inch heels,” Singh says of her grandmother, one of her first style inspirations. “I always remember her being so dressed up.” Singh likes to wear clothing that tells a story, from her grandmother’s jewelry to pieces by designers she admires, such as the wrap dresses designed by her friend and fellow tech maven Dona Sarkar. In practice, this translates to outfits in bright colors and bold patterns and that don’t sacrifice comfort. “I’m a huge fan of jumpsuits and the shirtdress,” she says. Besides her own company, Singh shops at local retailers such as Clementines and Visette Boutique to keep her wardrobe up to date.
About 30% of Armoire’s subscriber base is in the Seattle area, perhaps due in small part to prominent local supporters like FareStart CEO Angela Dunleavy-Stowell and The Riveter founder Amy Nelson. Such a community is important; as an example, Singh points to tuxedo rental shops that have been community fixtures for decades. “There was a tux shop in Kirkland growing up where everyone went for special occasions,” she says. “It was one of those special places where the owner knew you personally, a feeling we strive to emulate at Armoire through our computer algorithms and personal stylists.”
Chief Evolving Officer
Sustainability has been an important pillar for Armoire, which strives to reduce clothing waste and stocks eco-friendly brands, but Singh plans to use her platform for a range of social issues. “The idea of what women and men should and should not wear is evolving,” she says. “We look forward to introducing gender-neutral designs and being a destination where individuals who don’t identify as women can shop.” Armoire recently introduced maternity wear and currently offers sizes
up to 24W.